ELYRIA — This time, the 6-2 offense worked just fine.
“We lost this one last year,” Elyria Catholic coach Jen Lee said. “Remember we tried running a 6-2 and it didn’t work. It worked great tonight.”
Elyria Catholic had little trouble beating Midview, 25-14, 25-17, 25-12, in a West Shore Conference match Tuesday. The Panthers had lost to the Middies in their first meeting of 2011, before Elyria Catholic switched to a 5-1 and won 14 of its next 16 matches.
Elyria Catholic’s setting duet — senior Catherine O’Shaughnessy and junior Marie Vasitas — combined for 19 assists as the Panthers were never seriously challenged in any of the three games.
But the offense wasn’t the only thing that worked well for Elyria Catholic (3-0, 1-0 WSC). Lee was happy with the way her team blocked.
“We came out in a big, strong block,” Lee said. “That can be intimidating to a young team like Midview. We scrimmaged (Midview) in preseason and they hit much better at the start, because we didn’t block like this. We have a lot of great offensive players, so blocking is one thing we’re working on this year.”
The Panthers had four kill blocks in the first game and nine for the match. Karissa McGrath led the way with four kill blocks to go with her six kills.
In truth, the Panthers had the advantage in almost all statistical departments.
Midview (0-1, 0-1) made 20 unforced errors to just six for Elyria Catholic.
The Middies had 10 bad serves while Elyria Catholic had six. The Panthers served 13 aces to three for Midview.
“We had a ridiculous number of bad serves and bad receptions,” Midview coach Jen Shouse said. “We have a lot of young kids and they were very timid, especially at the start. (Elyria Catholic) came at us very aggressively to start. Our hitting improved as the match went on, but you can’t do much if you can’t serve and can’t receive.”
The Middies have only two starters back from last year’s team. The Panthers returned six of their seven starters from 2011.
The score was 3-3 in Game 1 before the Panthers ran off nine unanswered points, with O’Shaughnessy serving three aces in that run. McGrath had two kills and two kill blocks in the first game, and Rachel Duffield had two kills and a block kill.
Elyria Catholic had another large run early in Game 2, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 9-2 lead. O’Shaughnessy and Brooke Nedrich led the way with three kills each, while Duffield added two kills and a kill block.
Game 3 was competitive early. A 5-1 run put the Panthers in front 7-3, but Midview hung in and trailed just 12-8 before another 5-1 run by Elyria Catholic opened some breathing room. The Panthers closed the game and the match on a 7-0 run with sophomore Allie Kaminski serving three of her match-high six aces.
Kaminski served 17 points. O’Shaughnessy was high in kills with seven, with McGrath and Duffield at six each. Vasitas had 12 assists and Becca Pronesti led the Elyria Catholic defense with five digs.
Cassie Haight, a 5-foot-10 freshman, had seven kills, eight digs and three kill blocks for Midview. Alex Nilges led the Middies with eight kills and Alyssa Seljan added seven kills. Meghan Higley was 66-of-67 setting with 20 assists.
Contact Steve Byrne at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.